Keirartworks's Blog

hmmm. hmmm? Observations, actions and connection points through art.


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Rage like a mountain

There’s nothing new. But there is a new urgency I can’t ignore or discount – to do so would be futile, and frankly, cowardly.

It appears that I’ve come to a place of no return with critical parts of my life that have always been up for negotiation.

Like the movement of tectonic plates, a deep and radical shifting of my priorities.

I find myself, with some regularity these days, shaking with rage. I feel also, and at the same time a profound sense of deep and steady calm, no less intense and alive than the anger.  The word Ferocious comes to mind.

I have somehow expanded my capacity to contain Ferocity.

It feels quite safe in a dangerous sort of way.  I’m mindful of a need for care.

While I read for my masters.  While I make buffalo stew.  While I use my chainsaw to cut firewood, practise new bow technique on my cello.  While I write, sew, draw, listen to Joni Mitchell and RVW Symphony number 9 for work and pleasure.

While I think about wise, strong people who have been denied a voice of their own for far, far too long.

It’s difficult to put my finger on the ‘why now’ of this.  I think that doesn’t matter.  It’s the thundercloud that matters.

I will do the things I do for better reasons. I’ll learn to do other things, because they need to be done.


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#Water: July

The heat of this summer is thick like soup laced with sweat.  I’m grumpy about it.  I’m not grumpy about the work that’s happening here like a series of intense mini-explosions, each triggering the next.  I’d just rather not sweat while I’m working (fan is off when recording).  My fuse is short.

techgearHeat

Happily I have this nearby…

shore-July

I’m reading about, and listening to music written by Russian Composer Alexander Scriabin (1872-1915), who was doing his best to change the world with music and art until he died at age 43 (good introductory Guardian article here).  He did a great deal of thinking about colour, frequency, and energies, which I love.  Here’s a wiki quote,

In his autobiographical Recollections,Sergei Rachmaninoff recorded a conversation he had had with Scriabin and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakovabout Scriabin’s association of colour and music. Rachmaninoff was surprised to find that Rimsky-Korsakov agreed with Scriabin on associations of musical keys with colors; himself skeptical, Rachmaninoff made the obvious objection that the two composers did not always agree on the colours involved. Both maintained that the key of D major was golden-brown; but Scriabin linked E-flat major with red-purple, while Rimsky-Korsakov favored blue. However, Rimsky-Korsakov protested that a passage in Rachmaninoff’s opera The Miserly Knight accorded with their claim: the scene in which the Old Baron opens treasure chests to reveal gold and jewels glittering in torchlight is written in D major. Scriabin told Rachmaninoff that “your intuition has unconsciously followed the laws whose very existence you have tried to deny.”

How can I not be fascinated?  In art school, this was my era – the Symbolists, the Theosophists, the mystics.

TurtleWindowsill

If I can get the technology ironed out (please write if you know about high-quality motion-sensored sound systems, bluetooth), I’m aiming for November launch of the #Water tour.  I’ve got amazing musicians to work with, all with fascinating minds and beautiful voices.  Happy happy me.

Especially at 10:15pm, when it’s cool out.

 

Dragons_Composite1

 

 

 


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Inside Winter

It’s the kind of snow there’s a constant More of.  The plows and trucks and blowers, out all night long are still going strong at 10am.  Cars slide gently sideways to stop signs. Kids and grown-ups both are thoroughly snow-suited, booted, winter-gloved and touqued as they kick & trudge through piled white, falling white, blowing  – white everywhere.  Dogs leap and dive in it; parked cars have long since disappeared, save for a stripe of colour along their sides.

Third-floor roof of the studio building.  Looking Southwest across the harbour

Third-floor roof of the studio building. Looking Southwest across the harbour

The coffee tastes better.  The blankets are warmer.  The books are more intriguing; the art more tantalizing now that there’s time to look deeply.  The music has such clean white space around it,  it’s almost visible.

PicnicTable_Dec2013

I’ve dug out my knitting projects.  I find myself puttering,  replacing buttons, fixing collars, darning holes in old sweaters.

Just heard the opening phrase of a new song:  3 cello voices, descending, one rising, to A minor; hold.  Then vocals…

Roof_doorDec2013

I’ve said this before, but it’s true enough to say twice:  I love what winter does to me.

 


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Production

I’ve given myself two weeks to answer a list.  On my list are relatively small goals but they are necessarily comprehensive, since the overall aim is to break through a log jam of old unfulfilled ideas, to clear out what is no longer useful or appropriate, and give form to the ones with a vigorous pulse.   So.

Ten paintings finished and hung in a public space in two weeks.

Hammer drawing #1 - rough

Hammer drawing #1 – rough

Two public performances booked for cello ensemble, so that we HAVE TO polish these beautiful pieces, and present them.

(If you’re interested in hearing us:  December 1 Aids Vigil at the Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery, and December 16 6:30pm at Owen Sound City Hall)

One new project for 2016, very dear to my heart, fleshed out and taken to the collaboration table.

Eight long hikes.

Three non-fiction books finished.

One grant application mentored and sent.

Five daily rituals carefully designed and established.

One package, two letters sent to Japan.

…and space in-between.

Autumn ferns on the Bruce Trail, September.

Autumn ferns on the Bruce Trail, September.

This reads almost like a Dr. Seuss book…

One fish, two fish, three fish, four….

inheritance from two families on my mother's side:  A proud sign from Kennedy Foundry of Owen Sound, hanging on the wall of Circle Bar Ladies' Hosiery factory, also in Owen Sound, owned and operated by my mom & aunt's grandparents, Walter and Catherine Keebler.

inheritance from two families on my mother’s side: A proud sign from Kennedy Foundry of Owen Sound, hanging on the wall of Circle Bar Ladies’ Hosiery factory, also in Owen Sound, owned and operated by my mom & aunt’s grandparents, Walter and Catherine Keebler.  The fish are mine – made from carpentry scraps.


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prayers and tools

Kol Nidrei (arranged for cello & piano) on the stand beside The Bach Suites.  Above and to the right, a clock and the first viola John Newton made as a student (no bridge or strings – I’m honoured to keep it safe here).  Then the big black hanging fish, then my sewing machine, then the axe painting and the shovel painting.

Beside the Shovel painting, the 2000k lamp, and the light table.  On the light table the prototype windhorse prayerflag, yellow.  Continue along the east wall – a kundalini print from NYC; Crow; a framed sketch of a thinking woman bought at a Roxy Fundraiser; an almost-completed painting of a chopsaw and a teacup.  Then pliers, wire cutters, canvas stretchers, clamps, staple gun.

Closer to me a voracious ivy in the window below a green blind with a wishbone painted on it, now in silhouette.  A candle, three china teacups on their saucers, a photo of Edouard Bartlett holding a Strad; my cello in a case that Ed ordered for me;  my grandfather’s wall thermometer; a round mirror framed by the world snake, Orobouros; and before the next window my old draughting table, with lino cutting tools, pencils and ink drawing tools on it.

…and now seven technologies – I shot, cleaned in photoshop & converted to jpg, then posted it into WordPress, fb, twitter & linkedin. This is what we do now.

Mary Magdalene on the wall behind my left shoulder, surveying it all.  She stares out through three layers of technology – a painting made by Piero Della Francesca in the early Gothic era, a photograph of said painting taken sometime in the past twenty years, and a print of the photograph onto the postcard my mother found in Spain, and brought home to me.

I am getting ready to step into the rhythm of this studio – I have all day for this – rare indeed.  I will draw on the shovel painting and stretch the axe canvas.  I’ll draw the remaining symbols for the prayer flag (leopard, tiger, dragon, gurudas, Fran) and get them onto the lino block, ready for carving.  I’ll paint the small hanging sea creatures black and white, and find the correct places to put eye hooks into them.  I’ll practise my cello – long, deep practise off and on all day – to strengthen muscle, build callus, embed Bach and Brahms into my bones.  I’ll read about colour, tools, light and materials, and make notes for my exhibition/ installation proposal.

Our captive friend at the Toronto Zoo. I took out his fence (wish it were that simple).

I’ll take breaks to write letters with my pen, fold them and put them in envelopes.  On my trip to the bank I’ll take these to the post office and mail them.

I’ll teach tonight, from 5 until 8, by which time the room and I will be singing and alive in all our corners.

Happy Thursday all.